The Bondaroo by Dadware: A Skin-to-Skin Bonding Shirt for Dads with Their Infant

One of the fun perks of being a daddy blogger is receiving new products from companies, as they cleverly use my platform as a way to get the word out about their goods. Typically when I receive these types of inquiries, my response is, “Sure! Send it my way.”

And that’s what brings us to today’s blog post. Yes, as you can see, I am modelling The Bondaroo by Dadware for you. It’s a really soft polo style shirt with a Velcro opening to place your infant, which allows for skin-to-skin bonding.

This is to not only to promote the release of Vasopressin and Oxytocin hormones in Dad and baby, but also to help boost the immune system in newborns.

Obviously, at 14 months old, my baby daughter Holly is no longer a newborn. Instead, she’s walking now. For what it’s worth though, I attempted to “capture” her in my Bondaroo as I hovered down over her as she was playing on the floor, but my plan was unsuccessful. She just resisted and escaped.

So instead, I decided to use her stunt double, Dolly, who is the size Holly was a year ago.

 

Of course, my soon-to-be a 1st grader son also agreed to help me show how the Bondaroo works; even though, like his sister, he’s a little too tall and mobile for the product.

Obviously, the Bondaroo is a way for newborns (not 6 year-olds, 1 year-olds, or dolls) to bond with their father. I think it’s a really cool idea. So forgive me for not being able to properly model how this product works, but I’m sure you get the idea.

Also, if you’re thinking about getting a Bondaroo for a soon-to-be dad, I recommend buying one size larger than he actually is.

I’m 5’ 9” and 160 pounds; I always wear size large for my shirts. However, they sent me an XL instead. I’m glad they did, because it fit the exactly the same way a size large shirt from Gap fits me.

Thanks for sharing in this learning experience with me about The Bondaroo by Dadware.

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Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

We survived! Yay for us! With Baby Holly turning 6 weeks old as of yesterday, my wife and I have apparently made it through what I hear is the toughest part of the postpartum days: the first 6 weeks.

That first month or so is when you as the parent must figure out the details on what works best for your baby regarding sleeping schedules, formulas, and diapers. It’s a culture shock as a parent, even after already having one child. I knew it would be challenging going into it.

However, I must have kept my expectations lower than I needed to because, honestly, it hasn’t been that bad!

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Despite us managing our newborn’s infant acid reflux, for the post part, things have been fairly predictable. There have really been just 10 simple steps to caring for our newborn during the first 6 weeks:

1)      Feed her an ounce, burp her. Repeat until each ounce is gone.

2)      Change her diaper.

3)      Play with her by talking to her and helping her do exercises.

4)      Take a cute picture of her.

5)      Instagram it to show it off to friends and family.

6)      Change her diaper.

7)      Wrap her up in a blanket and rock her to sleep with the pacifier in her mouth,

then place her in the crib.

8)      Change her diaper, now that she finally fell asleep but wet herself again.

9)      Rock her back to sleep and place her in the crib again.

10)  Repeat two and a half hours later when she wakes up again.

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Those are my 10 simple steps. This has been my life for the past 6 weeks.

Granted, these 10 steps have been my wife’s reality more than mine, since she’s on maternity leave, but I still work during the day. A lot of the time my main responsibility is to take care of our 5 and a half year-old son Jack while my wife Jill takes care of the baby.

This past weekend I celebrated the end of those first 6 weeks by shaving off my postpartum beard, as well as getting a hair trim. As you can see though, I was unable to overcome the temptation of shaving (and Instagramming) in stages.

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

And if my eyes look bloodshot and cross-eyed, and I look like I need some ginseng because of lack of sleep, it’s probably true.

As for Baby Holly, she doesn’t have that problem so much…

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Fare thee well.

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

dad from day one: Why Technically Baby Jack is a Year Old Today

Week 13. (Three months.)

3 months out of the womb + 9 months in the womb = 12 months

I had always heard that in certain Asian countries, you are considered a year old as soon as you are born.  Then I went to South Korea in 2004 to work with some high school boys at a “Learn Conversational English” camp.  Sure enough, they all told me there were 17 years old, but when I compared their birthdays to the age they claimed to be, I realized that South Koreans do indeed hold the belief that you born a year old.  The boys were only 16 years old; the way we Americans see it.

But really, this makes much more sense to me than being “zero” the day you are born.  Sure, we spend 9 months in our mother’s womb, not a full 12 months, but 9 months is definitely closer to a year than to zero months. So in that case, I’m already in my thirties! Baby Jack is officially three months old today, though he has been alive a full year now.

At three months, Jack officially “talks”, turns his head when he hears my voice (he wasn’t always able to hear my deep voice), grabs onto my hand when I hold him, and as of last night, can officially turn over to his stomach completely on his own. He has to wear clothes for 6 month olds now.  And while I’m led to believe that he is indeed a big baby, I think he’s just starting out life with a bit of a growth spirt. His bulky forearms remind me of Popeye.

Jack in his "baked potato" outfit.

 

dad from day one: Parenting a Tongue Tied Baby

Week 5.

I chose not to go public about Jack being tongue tied, maybe in a subconscious attempt to avoid being overwhelmed with polarizing schools of advice before my wife and I had time to assess the situation ourselves and learn what would truly be best for him.  We realized after just the first couple of days after Jack was born that he wasn’t able to feed like other babies.  He could never get a good latch nor could he take more than a few sips of milk before crying and making a gurgling sound.  Actually, I never knew that being tongue tied was a real thing.  I just thought it was a phrase people used to describe momentarily not being able to successfully speak.  In case you haven’t already clicked on the Wikipedia link in the first sentence or already know this, some babies are born with that “skin bridge” attached too closely for them to stick out their tongues very far.

In Jack’s case, it meant extreme difficulty in feeding.  For more extreme cases, a tongue tied baby may grow up to become a child or adult with a speech impediment.  So last Thursday, we drove back to Vanderbilt in Nashville and had Jack’s tongue clipped.  I consider it a 2nd circumcision of sorts.  In fact, I was offered the chance to watch the procedure, so I did.  It was everything you would imagine. Just a few quick cuts.  I highly recommend it if your infant or child is tongue tied.

Since Thursday, the silver coating the doctor sprayed on the lacerations has been slowly peeling off.  So in a few more days, he should be out of pain and be able to begin learning to feed normally, with a tongue that can reach past his lips.  So if you have a tongue tied baby, and you’re asking for my opinion, just get it clipped. It’s no big deal and it sure beats having to wonder how much easier feeding could have been and whether your child will have difficulty speaking.

Open Mouth, Insert Fruit by the Foot: Oral Fixation and How the Mouth is a Pleasure Zone

The psychology behind making mouths happy.

In 1905, Jewish neurologist Sigmund Freud presented his theory on what he called “oral fixation”.  It basically said that if an infant was weaned too early or too late, when they became an adult, they would be “hungry” for activities involving the mouth: smoking, overeating, being extremely talkative, being addicted to sugar, alcoholism, biting, chewing on toothpicks…(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oral_fixation#Oral_fixation).

However, tests on Freud’s theory have never produced any significant evidence proving it to be valid.  Therefore, if anything, his theory on oral fixation is interesting, but not compelling.

And while I, along with pretty much anyone else in the history of the world who has heard about it, definitely don’t take Freud’s theory of oral fixation seriously, the theory has caused me to dwell a little bit on the human obsession of stimulating our senses by what we put in or near our mouths.

Even people who pretty much have never been around babies all that much (I’d almost say I qualify for that description) recognize that babies explore and test their surroundings by putting objects in their mouths.  Not just food, but toys, live animals, clothes- it doesn’t matter.

I could see how as adults, we fall back on this behavior.  After all, what is so enjoyable about swallowing a delicious food or drink?  Not much.  It’s all about the sensation of bringing that food item up to our mouths, tasting it, and chewing it.  So in theory, the only real difference between eating a piece of red licorice and chewing a piece of bubble gum is that we swallow one, but not the other.

Of course, a piece of candy will “fill us up” more than a 5 calorie piece of gum.  But when we eat sweets, we’re typically not eating to “get full”.  Maybe as a snack to tide us over or as a way to top off a meal.  The reason we eat sugary snacks is because it’s fun.  And having fun makes us happy.

Even contrasting that example to the joy of eating a good juicy, homemade burger- I eat a burger on occasion not only because it tastes good, but also because it fills me up.  Because if I simply wanted to be filled up with food, I could eat an endless list of other things, including a huge salad topped with beans and rice, instead of the burger.  But eating a burger typically is more likely to release more pheromones in my body, causing me to feel happy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pheromones).

So what does all this mean to me personally?  What do I walk away learning from this?

Anyone who has ever read a few of my “healthnutshell” posts knows that I think sugar is the devil (unless it is eaten in whole fruit form, not juiced).  But sometimes, I give in to a little bit of sugary awesomeness.  For the next two weeks, Starbucks is doing a happy hour promotion where their Frappuccino’s are half off from 3:00 to 5:00 PM.

So this past Sunday afternoon, at 4:47 PM, my wife and I strolled in the Starbucks right down the road from our house.  Because I had already drank coffee that morning and didn’t want to overdue it on the caffeine, I told the barista, “Make me the manliest drink you sell: a tall Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino”.

As my wife and I sat there enjoying our sugary Frappuccino’s there in the coffee shop, discussing our individual roles in my side of the family (“my dad is the mechanic/carpenter, my brother-in-law is the computer whiz, so what am I?…”) , I consciously focused on the happiness that my Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino was bringing me.

The worst way to drink a sugary drink is to just simply chug it like water.  The best way is to let it roll all over your tongue to the point you don’t really taste the sugar, then slowly swallow it.

Here is the most important thing to remember when choosing the size of any food item:  You are buying the amount of time you will enjoy the product.  You pay more money for a large, so it takes long to consume.  If you order a small size, you have less time to enjoy it.  Unless you eat or drink it slowly.  Like I do.

Slowly enjoying a Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino is most comparable to smoking a sweet cigar.  When smoking a cigar, the smoke isn’t intended to enter the lungs.  The smoke is meant to be tasted and enjoyed in the mouth.  It’s not the same as smoking cigarettes , where the smoke hitting the lungs is the whole point- or so I’ve read, on Wikipedia.

So while I laugh at Freud’s theory on oral fixation (the idea that incorrectly weaned infants become overeating, smoking, habit-forming adults), I do recognize that there is a connection between a person’s physical health and how much they give in to oral stimulation- specifically when it comes to eating, drinking, and smoking.

Each time I deny my mouth its “oral fixation” on juicy burgers and Frappuccino’s and honey berry flavored cigars, it is an absolute fact that I am always doing my body a favor, but not my mind.  I just have to remind myself, those things are for special few-and-far between occasions.  Because the truth is, I can get by most days with green salads, salmon, fruit, oatmeal, water, and chewing gum.  I admit though; it’s not easy trying to fix my oral fixations.